Author Archives: Stephen

He Persisted – We Will Get Gun Reform

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Fred Guttenberg — a father and statesman. A PBS interview, March 22, 2018. Parkland victim’s father: We will get gun reform in the U.S.

Listen to the video – it is inspiring. Below are transcript exerts:

Judy Woodruff:

As you know so well, Fred Guttenberg, what the gun lobby is saying, however, is that this is all about young people with an emotional or a mental — an emotional disturbance or a mental illness, and it’s about school safety, about making sure that schools are secure if someone shows up with a gun.

How do you answer that?

Fred Guttenberg:

Well, I tell them, you know what? That’s all correct. Mental illness is part of it. Making sure schools are safe is part of it.

However, the common denominator in every tragedy is the gun. And, unfortunately, for the gun lobby, I think their influence has been, unfortunately, larger on our elected officials than it should have been over the years, and their influence is waning.

Their money is going away. OK? Public opinion has turned against them. I can speak to you and tell you, I have received — for every message I have gotten from someone in the gun lobby who maybe complains about what I’m doing, I have also gotten one or two messages from someone in the gun lobby who says, you know what? You’re right.

The issue isn’t the membership. It’s the leadership. And even the members of the NRA are saying, our leadership has failed us. They’re out of touch.

They’re sending me pictures of their cut-up NRA cards. OK?

So, when you ask me, do I think the gun lobby or whoever else says it’s about school safety, it’s about security and mental health, they’re right. I’m not going to tell them that’s not part of it, but guns are part of it, too.

Judy Woodruff:

You are a private citizen, Mr. Guttenberg, and yet I have seen you stand up and be forceful in talking to a United States senator, Marco Rubio from your state of Florida. I have seen you be forceful in the interviews, many interviews you have done.

Where is that courage coming from?

Fred Guttenberg:

Well, my daughter.

My daughter was 14, but she was tough and, honestly, the toughest person who I knew. And, unfortunately, the way she died was running down a hallway with a gun at her back, and she was running for her life.

And I — every second, I think about the fear in her as she was doing it, and I also know how hard she was fighting to live. Honestly, because of what she went through, it’s perspective, but I don’t feel fear about anything anymore, because nothing could ever be like what she experienced.

And until I do something, so that no other parent will ever have to go through what my daughter went through and what my family is going through, I just have this need to fight like this.

This has gone on too many times. And ,in the past, whenever these tragedies have happened, I have found the conversation afterwards to always be way too polite, way too comfortable and way too temporary. I don’t feel like being polite. I don’t feel like making people comfortable. And I don’t feel like going away until something gets done.

And that comes from my daughter. She would expect me to do this.

A Non Sequitur Worth 1000 Words

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This says it all. Thank you Wiley Miller and Go Comics. Thanks to Trump and the Gutless Republicans we have an uncivil society.

Final Pick For Border Wall

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Thank you Don Asmussen – “The LIES behind the TRUTH, and the TRUTH behind those LIES that are behind the TRUTH.

Sinking Ship

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From our friends at the Daily Kos

The rats are fleeing the White-tanic.

Trump Facts & Tarriffs

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First some selected Krugman’ quotes on trump facts and tarrifs, A Ranting Old Guy With Nukes:

1.  Regarding being “factually challenged:”

…you can’t help noticing that his opinions seem a bit, well, factually challenged. No, we aren’t experiencing a huge wave of violent crime carried out by immigrants. No, we don’t give away vast sums in foreign aid. And so on down the list. Basically, what he imagines to be facts are things he thinks he heard somewhere, maybe on Fox News, and can’t be bothered to check.

2.  Regarding tariffs on steel and aluminum, Trumps justification is “national security.”

After all, we can’t be dependent for our aluminum on unstable, hostile foreign powers like … Canada, our principal foreign supplier. (Canada is also our biggest foreign supplier of steel.)

Meanwhile, in the days since Trump’s announcement, he’s tweeted out one falsehood after another. And I don’t mean that he’s been saying things I disagree with; I mean that he’s been saying things that are simply, flatly wrong, even according to the U.S. government itself.

He has, for example, declared that we have large trade deficitswith Canada; actually, according to U.S. numbers, we run a small surplus.

The best argument I have heard against the steel & aluminum tariffs is the following:

  1. Steel and aluminum are not consumer products. They are used in the production of goods — for example beer kegs and automobiles.
  2. Imposing the tariffs raise the production cost of steel and aluminum goods.
  3. The tarrifs may have a minor positive effect on US employment in steel and aluminum production but they will make US steel and aluminum products less competitive.
  4. The result — reduced balance of trade and increased cost of US goods.
  5. If the tariffs result in a trade war things just get worse.

Does this sound like winning? So much for the the wonders of tariffs to increase US production. Hell of an idea Mr. Trump!

 

Trade-Wars Trump

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According to Krugman:

“Donald Trump is belligerently ignorant about economics (and many other things). But up to this point that hasn’t mattered much. …

But there was always reason to be concerned about the possibility of crisis — either a crisis created by outside forces, like some kind of financial collapse, or one created by the administration itself. In that case the Fed’s rationality wouldn’t be enough. And it’s starting to look like we have a trade policy crisis on our hands.

“Trump has always had a thing about trade, which he sees the way he sees everything: as a test of power and masculinity. It’s all about who sells more: if we run a trade surplus we win, if we run a trade deficit, we lose”

This is, of course, nonsense. Trade isn’t a zero-sum game: it raises the productivity and wealth of the world economy. To take a not at all random example, it makes a lot of sense to produce aluminum, a process that uses vast amounts of electricity, in countries like Canada, which have abundant hydropower. So the U.S. gains from importing Canadian aluminum, whether or not we run a trade deficit with Canada. (As it happens, we don’t, but that’s pretty much beside the point.) …

So we can’t “win” a trade war. What we can do is start a cycle of tit-for-tat, and when it comes to trade, America — which accounts for 9 percent of world exports and 14 percent of world imports — is by no means a dominant superpower.

A cycle of retaliation would shrink overall world trade, making the world as a whole, America very much included, poorer. Read On.

 

Robert Reich – On Rise-Up Economics

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WHY WE NEED RISE-UP ECONOMICS, NOT TRICKLE-DOWN

How to build the economy? Not through trickle-down economics. Tax cuts to the rich and big corporations don’t lead to more investment and jobs.

The only real way to build the economy is through “rise-up” economics: Investments in our people – their education and skills, their health, and the roads and bridges and public transportation that connects them.

Trickle-down doesn’t work because money is global. Corporations and the rich whose taxes are cut invest the extra money wherever around the world they can get the highest return.

Rise-up economics works because American workers are the only resources uniquely American. Their productivity is the key to our future standard of living. And that productivity depends on their education, health, and infrastructure.
Just look at the evidence. Read On

Quotes About Donald Trump

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Selected Quotes About Donald Trump – From Goodreads

“Like Hitler, the President used the word lies to mean statements of fact not to his liking and presented journalism as a campaign against himself.”
― Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

“Donald Trump is worse than any horror story I’ve written.”
Stephen King

“Facts are threatening to those invested in fraud.”
DaShanne Stokes

“Discrimination does not ‘make America great.’ It makes America weak.”
DaShanne Stokes

“Trump’s America is not America: not today’s or tomorrow’s, but yesterday’s.

Trump’s America is brutal, perverse, regressive, insular and afraid. There is no hope in it; there is no light in it. It is a vast expanse of darkness and desolation.

And that is a vision of America that most of the people in this country cannot and will not abide.”
Charles M. Blow

“They want us to be afraid.
They want us to be afraid of leaving our homes.
They want us to barricade our doors and hide our children.
Their aim is to make us fear life itself!
They want us to hate.
They want us to hate ‘the other’.
They want us to practice aggression and perfect antagonism.
Their aim is to divide us all!
They want us to be inhuman.
They want us to throw out our kindness.
They want us to bury our love and burn our hope.
Their aim is to take all our light!
They think their bricked walls will separate us.
They think their damned bombs will defeat us.
They are so ignorant they don’t understand that my soul and your soul are old friends.
They are so ignorant they don’t understand that when they cut you I bleed.
They are so ignorant they don’t understand that we will never be afraid, we will never hate and we will never be silent
for life is ours!”
Kamand Kojouri

“Honestly, people are definitely dumber. They just keep passing stuff around. Nobody fact-checks anything anymore — I mean, that’s how Trump got elected. He just said whatever he wanted, and people believed everything, and when the things he said turned out not to be true, people didn’t care because they’d already accepted it. It’s real scary. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Paul Horner

Gutless on Guns

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What are the Senators and Representatives thinking? 300 mass shootings in 3 years. Forget “thoughts and prayers.” There is a solution — Recognize that children have a right to education and to feel safe. Regulate gun ownership and insure that it is an earned privilege not a right. The second amendment does not prohibit gun regulation.

How about no assault rifles; no automatic or semi-automatic weapons; serious background checks (minimum age, mental health, criminal record, etc.; require non-perpetual licensing and training;  no political donations from gun manufactures and from the NRA.

I have lost total respect for both congressional parties. It is time to listen to kids, teachers and the police. They are afraid and rightfully so. Republican politicians only fear loosing NRA money and the votes of gun nuts!

It is way past time to standup to the gun lobby, congress and the gun nuts. We have to do something meaningful, something to protect our children — Enough is enough!

Also see Guns, Mental Illness & Public Policy and NYT Opinion Today Feb. 15, 2018

Fact-Checking State Of The Union Speech

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Nicholas Kristof’s Fact-Check of Trump:

The role of the press isn’t to applaud politicians but to provide accountability, so here’s my on-the-fly commentary and fact-checking of President Trump’s State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress tonight. This isn’t a formal column but my play-by-play assessment in the form of selected tweets. Hang on!

Tweets worth a read.